Collected random tidbits of fuckedupedness.
Watched the various pundits this morning and had this thought:
If Sarah Palin were Dan Quayle, would guys like Colin Powell be supporting McCain?
How much of her being an idiot is amplified in people's minds by the fact that she's female?
From the NOW newsletter, Kim Gandy apparently said at the 2008 NOW conference:
"The next president needs to make economic equality for women a priority. This includes promoting educational opportunity, workplace equality, ending job segregation, educational segregation, [emphasis added] and promoting participation in good paying careers, like the STEM careers"
From one of the pundits this morning, they said Barack Obama's campaign defines "middle class" as individuals who make over $200,000, or over $250,000 for couples.
Implications of that:
1. Dear Kim Gandy, mrphd + msphd make a combined income yearly of less than $80,000.
DOES THAT SOUND LIKE A GOOD PAYING TO YOU???
Nobody can guarantee we'll get jobs doing what we have been training to do.
DOES THAT SOUND LIKE A CAREER TO YOU???
2. Is the assumption that the man makes $200,000 per year, and the woman makes $50,000 per year? Is it??? Because that's what it sounds like from those numbers!?!!
3. Where are the republican pundits getting these numbers? They're not front and center on the Obama campaign's website.
A recent study on the career paths of PhDs from the Yale graduate program:
Only 1 out of 30 from a top bioscience department obtained a tenure-track faculty position. I found the link over at a blog called Sandwalk.
A disturbing secret of the job market, and sign of the extreme fuckedupedness of the current postdoc system:
I recently learned that several of the people I know who were able to get faculty positions in the last few years did it by having funding.
How did they have funding, you ask?
They wrote R01s with their PIs, which many of us have done. The difference is whether it says this in your recommendation letter (which nobody reads unless your CV already looks spectacular!), vs. whether the postdoc co-author was listed as co-PI on those grants.
Why is this fuckedup, you might ask?
1. Postdocs are not eligible to apply for R01s. I think this is a major problem with our current system.
2. Senior PIs are having trouble (and rightly so!) getting multiple R01s.
Listing a young scientist as co-author is just a new way to exploit the system.
The PI gets credit for "promoting" young scientists, plus they get money when they otherwise wouldn't.
And did I mention that in most cases, the postdoc does ALL the writing, and the PI just adds his name [the only examples I know of involved male PIs]?
3. This is becoming an expected qualification for an assistant professor position, at least at some schools, and particularly in the current economic climate.
BUT IT IS AN UNSTATED REQUIREMENT.
We need to have a system, and it has to be transparent and consistent. It can't be fair if it's based on unwritten rules.
4. At least at my school, but I suspect at many others, making this a promotion requirement is a massive catch-22. You can't write the grant unless you're promoted; and you can't get promoted until you get the grant. Some major string-pulling has to happen behind the scenes to make these kinds of arrangements.
In other words, don't expect to get to do this unless you work for a powerful PI.
5. It favors the favorites (and in most cases, this means it favors the men). I've seen different versions of these kinds of scenarios play out.
One is that only the favorite guy (let's be honest) in the lab gets to be co-PI.
Sometimes other postdocs (god forbid, some of the women!) would benefit more from writing a grant, either because they need the boost to their careers, or are more senior, etc.
Often, multiple lab members contribute substantially to the grantwriting and submission, but only the favorite guy gets official credit.
Another scenario I've seen is when a senior female postdoc does the same amount of work as the favorite guy, but she gets screwed when she leaves the lab.
For Favorite Guy, it is seen as an equal partnership or a friendly competition. Communication lines are open, reagents are shared, etc.
For Former Female Postdoc (FFP), the PI reneges on their agreement about who does what going forward, and FFP can't afford to get into a turf war with Former PI. Former PI does not keep her informed, and refuses to send agreed-upon reagents after FFP leaves.
And there's nothing she can do. Former PI controls everything from who speaks at meetings, to who publishes in what journals, to her chances at future grants.
What's an FFP to do?
If the only option is to not attempt to write a grant with the PI, she's screwed.